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Ask the experts


Which NFL team had the worst draft last spring? The consensus among draft experts was: the Seattle Seahawks.

I’ve only seen the Seahawks a couple of times this year, but a friend breaks it down like this:

Seahawks 2012 draft:

-1/15: Bruce Irvin (DE, WVU)
-2/47: Bobby Wagner (LB, Utah State)
-3/75: Russell Wilson (QB, Wisco)
-4/106: Robert Turbin (RB, Utah State)
-4/114: Jaye Howard (DT Florida)
-5/154: Korey Toomer (LB, Idaho)
-6/172: Jeremy Lane (CB, Northwestern State)
-6/181: Winston Guy (S, Kentucky)
-7/225: J. R. Sweezy (DE, NC State)
-7/232: Greg Scruggs (DE, Louisville)

Outcomes of the guys who have played:

-Bruce Irvin: 2nd on the team with 8 sacks. Limited to being a rush end only, but pretty solid at that for a rookie.

-Bobby Wagner: Star starting MLB: 3 INT, 80 tackles, 2 sacks.

-Russell Wilson: Star starting QB as a rookie. 2868 pss yds, 63%, 7.7 YPA, 25 TD/10 INT; 431 rsh yds/3 TDs.

-Robert Turbin: Second string tailback. 78 rsh att, 359 rsh yds (4.6 YPC); 18 rec, 169 rec yds.

-Jeremy Lane: 2nd string LCB; 2 starts, 9 tackles.

-Greg Scruggs: 2nd string DE. 9 games, 2 sacks, 5 tackles.


-ESPN (Kiper): Value: D-, Overall: C-, lowest rated draft.

-Sportingnews (Iyer): D, lowest rated draft (“They went for head-scratchers when more reliable prospects were on the board.”)

-Yahoo!Sports (Cole): D- (“You don’t spend a third-round pick on a guy who’ll be lucky to be Seneca Wallace.”)

-SBNation (Thorman): C, 6th worst draft

-CBSSports (Prisco): C+

-SBNation (Van Bibber): B

-Sports Illustrated: C

-Fox Sports: B (“Their entire draft was one shocker after another”)

-NFL.com: C+

-Rotoworld (Silva): B-

-Tampa Tribune (Ira Kauffman): D, lowest rated draft.

-USAToday (Davis): 26th best of 32 drafts

My favorite quote is the Yahoo scribe’s take on Russell Wilson, which could be translated “I don’t actually watch college football, so I’ll randomly compare this player to another black guy who played QB for Seattle.”

Russell Wilson’s passing stats in college:

11,720 yards, 109 TDs, 30 INTs, 7.9 YPA, 8.4 AYA

Seneca Wallace’s passing stats in college:

5,289 yards, 26 TDs, 27 INTs, 7.4 YPA, 6.5 AYA

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  • CaptBackslap

    Sweezy (for sheezy) started the last game too, and played well despite moving to OG after the draft.

    This makes Mel Kiper, Jr. look even more ridiculous than usual.

  • Ronnie Pudding

    The draft experts are just spitting back what they hear from other GMs and scouts (and from one another). So this means that the Seahawks were on a different page than everyone else. But it is not like all of those opinions are independent. He’ll, Kiper is probably one of the handful who actually does some reporting and scouting.

    • Tybalt

      Exactly. Scouting journalism is a giant echo chamber. Kiper has learned a lot and been in the biz a long time, and his actual reportage is fine, but even he doesn’t have a scouting background.

  • Jim Lynch

    It’s been interesting to watch the NFC West claw its way back to respectability over the past few years (and I do mean, “claw”, as in nowhere to go but up). [News Flash]: Seattle is definitely for real this year. I won’t be surprised if they wind up in the Super Bowl. Or the Rams, either, over the next couple of years.

    In the meantime, and as always, Go Niners. I can see them running the table this year, too.

    • Kurzleg

      I was about to point out that their record is inflated by the “win” over the Packers and the highly improbable comeback against the Bears, but any team that is +160 in point differential has something going for it. Then again, 120 of that is in the past three games, and 91 were against opponents with a combined record of 10-20. They definitely have some momentum going at the moment, but I’m not sure it’ll carry over into the playoffs since they likely won’t have home-field advantage (they’re 3-5 on the road this year).

  • shah8

    Seattle already had the bones of a decent team going, and Carroll drafted pretty much exclusively on raw talent. He had confidence in himself in upgrading such talent so they get on the field.

  • Condi R, big NFL Fan!

    Sorry but I’ll go with Mel Kiper’s Jr. gut over Librul Campos’ fancy facts. Besides you can’t judge a draft until after 25-30 years.

    • cpinva

      true. even then, there are still questions left unanswered.

      Besides you can’t judge a draft until after 25-30 years.

      campos and silver, with all their elitest, numbers thingies, publicly display why conservatives, with deeply held personal values, don’t care for them. “facts? we don’t need no stinkin’ facts!”

    • David

      Don’t worry Condi, some of us got it. Well played.

  • Fighting Words

    Surprisingly, Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks, who is not my favorite football writer, acurately predicted the outcome of the Seahawks’ season back in August:

    “With Russell-mania raging out of control early on in the season, the Seahawks will feed off the energy and veteran-like execution of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and emerge as one of the surprise teams of the year. Seattle will compete with San Francisco for supremacy in the NFC West all season, before settling for a wild-card slot. While Wilson will be a huge part of the story, the Seahawks’ stout young defense will come to the fore down the stretch.”

    As a 49er fan, it looks like the NFC West will be very tough for us the next few seasons with the Rams and Seahawks.

    • Green Caboose

      We can be sure that Don Banks will remind his readers of that many times in future column.

  • cpinva

    i’m guessing, with the exception of robert griffin III, the above listed “analysts” didn’t much care for washington’s 2012 draft class either. especially wasting a perfectly good 4th round pick on some no-name QB. no doubt shanahan is on his way out the door.


    • Dave G

      Well, with Washington, the shock of the Draft was Alfred Morris, who nobody had ever heard of, turning in a 1400+ yard season. There was a actually a legit argument for a 2nd QB given the Rex-Becks nightmare. The problem was Washington’s near-criminal dearth of picks, more than drafting a second QB. The analysis, IIRC wasn’t “WTF a QB?” as much as “They have too many needs…”

      The universe whiffed on Wilson.

      • cpinva

        morris has proven to be that rarest of finds, the no-name player who just blows the league up. the rex-beck nightmare was an argument against drafting another QB, rex would be the seasoned vet, to back up the young rookie. having two rookie QB’s didn’t make a lot of sense at the time, especially with washington’s desperate needs in the secondary.

        everyone assumed that cousins would end up being trade bait in a year or two, to try and get back some of those draft choices given up, to get griffin. that may still happen, but it’s looking more and more doubtful at this point. rex will be gone next year, opening up a roster spot, probably to be filled by a competent CB or FS.

        as a long suffering redskins fan, i can’t tell you how good it feels, knowing that a kirk cousins is supporting griffin.

        • Shane

          Not a surprise at all. Shanahan did this repeatedly at Denver. You could make or break a fantasy football season by figuring out which RB Shanahan was going to give the ball to.

        • Dave G

          In terms of seasoned backup for Robert Griffin, I would rather Arby’s Curly Fries than Rex Daniel Grossman III.

          • The way Griffin plays he is a lock to be out for a minimum of a few games each year and why are you disrespecting curly fries.

            • Sherm

              The way Griffin plays he is a lock to be out for a minimum of a few games each year

              If not more. Its a shame too because he such an incredible talent. And I say this as a Giants fan.

            • CJColucci

              And how come Arby’s doesn’t have any presence in NYC?

              • Bill Murray

                too much money went to that huge one in Virginia

                • Sherm

                  Well done!

  • Reminds me a bit of last year’s Baseball Prospectus, where some of the most maligned players were Austin Jackson, Josh Reddick, Raul Ibanez, pretty much every Nat’s player not named Bryce…

    • Tybalt

      And Ibanez, for one, was indeed terrible. Reddick didn’t hit a lot, but he was great with the glove.

      • 19 HR and .763 OPS isn’t “horrible.” Those are perfectly respectable numbers for a 3rd or 4th outfielder. And without him, the Yankees probably wouldn’t have made it to the ALCS.

        • From a guy who could basically only hit opposite hand pitchers, and even then didn’t do much beyond the power, it’s not really good, though it’s also not bad for a guy who earned just a touch over $1 million for the effort.

          Though I still have no idea when BP was killing Ibanez, or even what “last year’s Baseball Prospectus” is.

          • Sherm

            for a guy who earned just a touch over $1 million for the effort.

            I think he ended up around $3.5 after incentives, but I’m not certain.

        • Joel

          Ibanez wasn’t horrible, but he wasn’t good, either. If you’re not going to contribute in the field, you need to do more than what he did last year.

          An even better indicator of how bad he currently is lies in the fact that the Mariners have gone out and signed him again.

    • “Reminds me a bit of last year’s Baseball Prospectus,”

      For the life of me I can’t figure out what this is supposed to mean.

      • i seem to remember you having that problem before. You may want to get it checked out.

      • Sherm

        “Reminds me a bit of last year’s Baseball Prospectus,”

        For the life of me I can’t figure out what this is supposed to mean.

        Now I’m confused. Are you mocking people like me who still get the book every year rather than the online subscription, or are you confused by his reference to BP’s projections last year for the players he named?

        • Are we talking about the BP Annual, then? Though even then, yeah, those are some weird players to pick out.

          • Sherm

            Presumably. That’s what I’m referring to when I talk about “Baseball Prospectus.” And the annual makes better bathroom reading than an online subscription.

            • Njorl

              You need to modernize your bathroom, though the paper version is more useful in an emergency.

          • Sherm

            One more thing, I haven’t bothered to look up the players he listed, but if memory serves, there has always been a lot of concern expressed in the Annual BP for Austin Jackson’s contact rates and high BABIP.

            • Yeah, but you could say the same thing about scouts, basically all of whom saw AJax as a no-power athletic outfielder who struck out too much. He’s an extreme outlier who “figured it all out” at the big league level and exceeded even his perceived ceiling.

              • Sherm

                I’ll admit that I thought that both he and Kennedy were the product of Yankee-hype and that the Yankees gave up little in the three-way which landed them Granderson. I was obviously wrong in that regard.

              • rea

                Everyone down to commentors on baseball blogs was talking about the obvious problem with Jackson’s swing, and no one thought that Jackson, assisted by a professional coaching staff, could figure out that problem and fix it?

                • Of course not, the sabermatricians know everything is foreordained, and non-linear development shaped by the intervention of human agency is a consoling myth for the soft-headed!

  • rm

    I think the subtext here is “Seattle Seahawks? What’s that, Canadian football? Do they have TV there?”

    • rea

      I thought they were the Oklahoma City Seahawks, nowdays.

  • Alan in SF

    Holy Ceiling Cat! Fox was rightest.

  • NewHavenGuy

    Grrr… Good for the ‘hawks. Lotta good young QBs out there, looks like you got a 3rd round steal.

    Saints fan myself, remember now that I’m too filled with rage to think rationally about this most excellent gladiatorial/war sport until next season.

    Oh and thanks for 2010 too, though missing 38 tackles on that Lynch run I guess we deserved it. Best team in NFL last year and the Giants win it all… ouch. Enter Goodell. Grr.

  • I think Wilson being under 6 feet tall had a lot to do with both where he was drafted and the analysis of him, aside from those who mention Seneca Wallace for some reason I don’t know other than race. Many criticized how much Washington gave up to move up to the 2nd overall pick. But most analysis of RG3 was positive. Though it could be argued he wasn’t as highly touted as Luck because of his race.

    Anyway, Griffin fit the mold of what a stereotypical NFL QB looks like, being about 6’2. I think race then came up when those of us who don’t care about those things brought up someone like Drew Brees, who is about as tall as Wilson, and were scoffed at despite fantastic college production.

    And as a Dolphins fan I really want to ask Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin what they thought of Wilson and why they took Tannehill, even though I’ve been fairly impressed with Tannehill.

    • NewHavenGuy

      Brady another guy badly valued in draft. (Still hate him, but respect-hate rather than Tommy Franks hate.)

      Note going forward: not a deal-breaker by any means, but your 6’0 QB will have something like 10-20 more passes a season swatted down (or worse, up) like flies. Maybe fewer if you don’t run 40+ pass plays every game, but again I’m too angry to think straight. Good luck in playoffs.

      • Cols714

        I think I read that Brady’s arm strength really improved after being drafted. I don’t think the talent people missed on him as much as Brady just got a ton better once he was a pro. Even his first few seasons weren’t all that great. He didn’t really become Tom Brady until 2004 or so.

        Those early SB winning NE teams were more defense and luck.

        • Sherm

          Plus, he had an historically bad 40 yard dash time at the combine and he shared snaps in college with Drew Henson. I think that Brady is a more of an example of a great scouting job by the Patriots than a bad job by the rest of the NFL.

          • Cols714

            I think in this case it’s more extremely good luck than anything else.

            • Western Dave

              I never could figure out why Henson kept getting snaps over Brady. Put I’m partial, he did well in my class.

    • c u n d gulag

      Giants and Dolphins fan, here.

      I didn’t see too many Dolphins games, but the ones I did, and the game result stats I checked out, I really like Tannehill a lot, too.

      But how do you ever top Marino?
      Griese was in 3 SB’s, and won two. But, Marino, is GOD!

      • Njorl

        Bah! Griese was a glorified Trent Dilfer.

    • Sherm

      Griffin or Luck? Who would you take right now? I’m really not sure.

      • c u n d gulag

        I’m kind of partial to pocket passers.

        Guys who like to run, seem to get hurt more often.

        But I want a pocket passer who has a lot of pocket awareness, and can make a subtle move to avoid a rush. Marino was a master of that. So was Unitas. And so was Namath, while he could still move. Peyton has that – so does Eli. And Luck seems to have that, too.

        But, that’s me.
        And if RG3 fell was available, I’m not sure I wouldn’t take him. He’s smart, has great legs, is fast, and has a GREAT arm – and, is accurate.
        And by being smart, he should be able to learn to stay in the pocket more than someone like, say, Vick, who’s got a gun for an arm, but is inaccurate, and takes off running the moment he feels some pressure.

        • Sherm

          And by being smart, he should be able to learn to stay in the pocket more than someone like, say, Vick, who’s got a gun for an arm, but is inaccurate, and takes off running the moment he feels some pressure.

          This is what has impressed me the most thus far with Griffin. He doesn’t look to run until after he has gone through all of his downfield reads. He has a better feel for the NFL game right now than Vick ever had. I prefer the pocket passer as well, and I think that Marino just might be the best quarterback I ever saw. But I’m not sure that Griffin isn’t as good in the pocket as Luck. And while Luck is having an amazing rookie season, there is something about his throwing mechanics that reminds me of a young Philip Rivers, which is not a good thing.

      • CJColucci

        Being risk-averse, I’d take Luck. The NFL knows what to do with his type of talent and has proven it works. RGIII may be the guy who finally unlocks the mystery of what to do with that type of player and make it work long-term, and I’d like to see it, but that’s not where I place my bet

      • Joel

        Griffin for me; his YPAs are ridiculous. He is already one of the better intermediate/deep passers in the league. And hes’ doing this with a pretty mediocre receiver corps.

  • Steve S.

    Irvin, actually, is a slight disappointment considering that absolutely nothing but sacks are expected from him; he’s been completely invisible for games at a time. But the 2-3-4 picks have been, obviously, tremendous value.

  • Monday Night Frotteur

    What’s odd is that most of those experts loved the Seahawks’ 2011 draft (lowest grade anywhere a B+), and rightly so; 4 multi-year starters, including a 5th round CB with 11 ints in 2 years (Sherman) and KJ Wright.

    Also note that “PROVEN NFL FAILURE” Pete Carroll seems to know what he’s doing. The “experts” who judged his coaching ability on a small sample size (and who discounted his performance at USC) were similarly buffoonish…

    • Monday Night Frotteur

      …er, they loved the 2010 Seattle draft. They hated that good 2011 draft just as much as the 2012 draft.


      • To be fair, James Carpenter was a pretty disastrous first round pick.

    • Joshua

      Well, to be fair, it’s not like insanely successful college coaches have a good record in the NFL. Then you pair that up with how it looked like he just grabbed the first available job to bolt out of LA before the NCAA came knocking.

      He’s done a damn good job, but there were a lot of red flags there.

      • I think the bigger point is that his “NFL failure” was always overstated. That so-called failed tenure in New England included two playoff appearances and a division title in three seasons.

      • socraticsilence

        That in and of itself is a bit of a misconception- Great College coaches seem to be just as successful as any other source of NFL talent- Bill Walsh, Jimmy Johnson, Paul Brown- all were great college coaches- there are definitely failures but that’s true of any other source of NFL coaches as well.

  • Domino

    As good as the Seahawks have been, I can’t get over how they’re fighting Minn and Cincy for worst jerseys in the league. Did no one at Nike think “Well, maybe there’s TOO MUCH highlighter…” ?

    As for me, I’m hoping KC somehow finally stumbles onto a young and talented QB. Such a shame so many good guys are wasted because of atrocious QB play and playcalling in general.

    • Did no one at Nike think “Well, maybe there’s TOO MUCH highlighter…” ?

      Teams from the northwest have to use the fluorescent highlights so you can see the players through a downpour.

  • Scott Lemieux

    How the hell could anybody think that the Seahawks had a worse draft than the Browns, who not only traded up to take a running back but who in the 1st round took a 29-year-old QB with far worse performance than Wilson?

    • James E Powell

      And by this time next week everyone who had anything to do with the Browns 2012 draft will be out of a job.

      • Colin


    • Sherm

      To be fair, Chris Weinke wasn’t draft eligible this year.

    • Bill Cross

      The Browns have at least 5 rookie starters and another 6 with significant playing time, so at the very least they found a bunch of players better than they had previously.

      • Bill Murray

        I should add that not all those 11 were drafted.

      • Njorl

        The Browns could have used press gangs to get better players than they had before.

  • ADM

    Eh, I guess it’s mildly entertaining that a bunch of High Priests were so wrong about their religion in such an obvious, stupid way, but really, every year a bunch of players are evaluated on how their game transfers to the pro game, and that’s a serious crap shoot. Just look at Tim Tebow: he was an unorthodox – yet highly productive college qb – and it turns out the pros were right to ignore his college production. He’s a shitty pro qb. (To be fair to Tebow, ALL Florida (St., Miami, etc) school qb’s are shitty pro qbs.)

    And what if, as happens in the NFL, a bunch of Seattle players happen to be having career years right now, inflating Wilson’s stats a little and making Seattle a one-year wonder? What if Russell Wilson regresses next year and struggles to throw more tds than ints over his career? Are you going to write a retraction to this post saying maybe you weighted the data just as badly as the experts?

    • Walt

      Are the experts writing retractions right now? How many times in history has anyone written a retraction? Maybe 0.0000001 of all predictions have ever been followed up with a retraction when they’re wrong.

      • ADM

        Why would the football experts write retractions now? These football pundits said Seattle’s draft class sucked. And if this is the sole high point of these young player’s careers, the sports pundits may still yet be right.

        That said, I, a commenter on the Internets, am not seriously expecting a retraction from anyone. Just saying that I think what Paul Campos is doing is both a little silly and a little hypocritical. Everyone passed on Russell Wilson! Twice! Hell, Seattle passed on Wilson twice. Everyone passes on dozens of stars-in-the-making every year. Everyone passes on the short QB, or the weak-armed QB, or the slow WR, or the undersized DE once or twice or six times every year. 8ish out of 10ish times the experts are right to do so. So how this is some special example of expert-buffoonery I have no idea. This is how the draft works every year, for everyone from ownership to GM to coach to fans to pundits to draft gurus. Everyone, all the time. We’re all wrong about the draft.

        • Walt

          So the fact that it was consensus that the Seahawks had the worst draft, and yet after one season it’s worked out great isn’t worthy of a blog post? Really?

          • Bill Cross

            since when is 3 of 12 a consensus, the consensus looks more like low average? Further, without looking at the other teams drafts, you can’t say it wasn’t correctly rated at low average. Sure it seems unlikely because of Wilson, but 2 starters, 2 decent backups and 2 others isn’t exactly the greatest draft ever. It’s what happens when you draft for potential, some work out great, some work out OK and some don’t

  • c u n d gulag

    The Jets would kill for that Seahawks draft!

    I’m no fan of Rex Ryan or Mark Sanchez, but the real culprit in the organization, besides the owner, is Mike Tanenbaum the GM.
    I’m a Giants fan, truth be told. And I hate the Jets, but I’m starting to feel sorry for them – and pity is a terrible thing in sports.

    And I pity poor Mark Sanchez.
    He’s gotten worse every year. But, who does he have to protect him, to hand the ball off to, or throw to?
    The poor SOB is on his back more often than any p*rn star – and at least, they can take other positions.

    Having said that, watching Sanchez run head-first into his own Lineman’s ass, and fumbling the ball, will never, ever, get old!

  • -Russell Wilson: Star starting QB as a rookie.

    “Star” is a little strong. “Legit starting QB as a rookie” is more accurate, and plenty impressive by itself.

    • CaptBackslap

      No, he’s a star. He started off a bit slowly, but he’s been better than almost anyone in the league the past two months.

      • Sherm

        A little premature to declare him a star. Lets give the kid a couple of years first.

        • CaptBackslap

          Well, all the usual caveats and enemies of promise apply, of course. But he certainly doesn’t have to play any better than he’s been playing since the start of November to be considered elite.

          • Sherm

            As a Giants fan, I beg of you not to start any “elite” argument. I have grown to despise that word.

            • CaptBackslap

              After this season, I can see why.

            • OK, new topic:

              Is Eli Manning an elitist?

              • Sherm

                So, a friend of mine who is a Jets fan says to me on the day after Thanksgiving that he’s “thankful for Eli Manning and the New York Giants because without them, the NFL would be the National Brady and Belichick League, even more so than it already is.”

                • Green Caboose


                  Imagine a coach/QB combination who had the record that New England has had starting with the 2005 season. 7 division titles in 8 years and 2 super bowl trips but no championships. The meme would be “can’t win the big one”. And also: “Can’t win a non-home playoff game”. And the loss to Indy in January 2007, after having an 18-point lead, would be cited as the clinching proof of being choke artists.

                  But because of those long-ago field-goal-margin SB wins – primarily leveraging the once-exceptional New England defense – their reputation as champs is secure.

      • Mpowell

        He still hasn’t thrown for 300 yards in a game. Efficiency on low usage is very Alex smithian.

  • Why does Seattle take him? They paid Matt Flynn and have two others. Strange pick._ Grade D–Pete Prisco,cbssports

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